I have been thinking about starting a blog for quite some time now. Many of my friends and colleagues have them, and for years I have been writing blog-like posts to the various e-mail lists I subscribe to and the odd message board here or there. Truth be told, I actually prefer e-mail, but I find it’s often a pain to search through listserv archives, so I’ve been pondering my alternatives. Last summer, one of my priests (I’m not Orthodox myself — not yet, anyway — but my wife is, and we attend an Orthodox church) told me all about the wondrous ease and flexibility of Blogger. But, as is my wont, I procrastinated, and procrastinated, and procrastinated …
Well, events beyond my control have finally conspired to get me off my butt and do something. A message board that I used to frequent is undergoing something of a Disney-style internal battle, and I find myself in the role of, say, Pixar — frozen out of the board by a Michael Eisner-like administrator who has seized power while other administrators who were there long before him have resigned in protest over his methods (call them the Roy Disney figures). I would still like a place to post my first impressions of films etc. before I have to write my proper reviews, so I am finally taking the plunge and starting this blog.
I think one of the reasons I have been reluctant to jump into the blogosphere in the past is that I did not know if anybody would follow me here. I like conversation, and message boards provide ready access to that — you know you’re stepping into a crowded pub, where the conversation has been going on long before you and will continue long after you. Listservs can also provide a measure of that, though the long gaps between e-mails can be ominously silent. But starting one’s own blog seems a bit more … isolated, even egotistical. Instead of going to where the people are, you assume they will come to you, instead. And if they don’t, you feel you end up just talking to yourself.
However, in the last week alone, I wrote several reviews and articles on at least ten different films — some new, some old — and I found that the posts I made about those films when I saw them one, two, three, or more years ago were very helpful. So, even if nobody else reads the stuff that I happen to write here in my spare time, I have good reason to believe that some of it will find an audience of some sort, in some form, down the road.
I’ll be posting about non-film-related stuff, too, of course — apart from my interest in religion, politics, history, and other subjects, I also got married just last month, so I’m sure there’s all sorts of new experiences I’ll want to talk about here — but film will always be just around the corner. As I said when I first joined another forum nearly six years ago:
Well, I was telling someone earlier today that my three favorite subjects are religion, history and film, and anything that combines the three is immediately interesting to me. . . . The three subjects have never been all that separate, for me. Certainly my faith is very much a film-informed, or film-tinted, one. I grew up looking for Christology in Star Wars, Tron, E.T. and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Nowadays, when I think of, say, grace, I’m as liable to think of The Game and Babette’s Feast and Jerry Maguire as I am to think of scripture. When I think of original sin, a passage or two from The Last Days of Disco are the first things that come to my mind. When I consider the differences between the humble, other-oriented life and the proud, self-oriented life, I turn to The Dreamlife of Angels. And when I ponder the challenges posed by naturalistic atheism, and the question of whether humans can have identity without a God-breathed soul, I think not of books of science and philosophy but of Errol Morris’s mesmerizing, melancholic docu-poem Fast, Cheap & Out of Control.
I could come up with better examples than some of those now, no doubt. But the basic idea remains as true as ever.